A Story of Forgiveness and Blessing
I’ve thought a lot about forgiveness and how important it is. I’m not sure how many people you have met that seem to seethe with hatred and bitterness, who can’t seem to talk about anything else but a or person that they have a major issue with, rehashing the same thing over and over again?
I know I have met a few people with this issue, and I know that I am just as susceptible as anyone else to falling into that cycle.
After all, holding on to anger towards someone makes us feel powerful, like we are justified and “right” doesn’t it?
That feeling of power and justification is deeply futile and completely misleading. It’s especially interesting seeing someone filled with hatred towards another and meeting the other person only to find out they had no idea that there was a problem, or at the very least that they have moved on and forgotten or worked through the issue.
In those moments, who is the one with the sense of freedom? Surely not the person wallowing in hatred and bitterness, they are just staring at the mirror making faces and threatening gestures at themselves.
In my life there was a situation where I honestly believed that I had forgiven those that offended me. I had moved on and let go and every time it came to mind would pray and give it to God – but I was wrong.
It was just over two years ago now that I went to a conference and heard R.T. Kendall speak. He was talking about forgiveness and he said something that really shook me.
He stated that God had asked him a question “Have you forgiven them?”
His response was “Yes.”
God’s reply, “Then pray blessings over them.”
His response was “I can’t do that!”
God’s prompting, “Then you haven’t forgiven them.”
I was torn and not excited about the idea of praying blessings for people that had offended me and who I felt hadn’t sought out or responded to attempts at reconciliation.
But I went to bed that night and woke up with an incredibly vivid dream.
I was walking into a dark cave filled with cob webs and rot, I realized that the cave was actually inside of me and somehow I became aware of the fact that I have entered the cave through my big toe (odd I know but when you think about bitterness and its root being small and obscure it makes sense). I woke up and began to desperately pray blessings over those who had hurt me.
You might be thinking “But they don’t deserve it, I can’t do that or they won’t learn their lesson!” And I would be right there with you.
But if you consider that concept, holding back a blessing from them only adds to my false sense of control, it is the equivalent of my saying that I am the one who will judge and determine whether or not they are worthy.
Praying blessings over them allows me to let go and trust God to take care of it. Will that mean bigger and better ministry, job promotions and any other kind of blessings from God? Maybe, but that’s God’s decision to make. He is the ultimate and perfect judge.
So I have been praying for them for over two years. Even still, there are moments where I get frustrated and remember the hurt, but I take it to God and remember that He has both them and me in His hands.
And you know what, if I pray God’s blessing over others, doesn’t that blessing naturally include His Holy Spirit working, softening and growing in them – and by default me too?
What better way to soften my heart towards possible restoration and reconciliation, but to trust God with it all?
My prayer for you is that you would find true forgiveness and begin to let go of the false sense of power and control you may be feeling. May you give it to God, trust Him to be the judge and allow Him to soften your heart.
May His peace rule in your heart and soul no matter the response of your offenders.